Three Waterloo organizations are teaming up to launch a $50,000 scholarship fund to help women of colour train for careers in tech sales.

“It is time for the tech sector to address the disparity in representation,” said Donna Litt, co-founder and COO of Uvaro, a tech sales career accelerator. “With studies showing that women are twice as likely to have been laid off during the pandemic versus their male counterparts, re-training scholarships are critical to ensuring that women are able to successfully secure employment, especially with recovery efforts under way.”

Uvaro is partnering with not-for-profit Black Women of SaaS Sales (BWOSS) and venture firm Garage Capital, which was launched by Waterloo-area tech founders.

The intent of the new fund is to provide 10 recipients with $5,000 worth of training over 12 months. The award covers program fees for Uvaro’s 12-week tech sales bootcamp, which Litt said has graduated more than 300 people to date and has a proven track record of job placement.

Timing and eligibility criteria will be made available on a website in the coming weeks. For now, those interested in the program can email for more information.

The three partner organizations point to a 2019 study by McKinsey & Company which found that women represent just 34.4 per cent of employees in the world’s five largest tech companies, and that women of colour represent just 18 per cent of entry-level positions.

 “This is an opportunity to empower women of colour in sales,” said Hana Hassan, Head of Partnerships at BWOSS, whose mission is to help Black, Indigenous, and women of colour succeed in sales. “In our aim towards diversity and inclusion, we want to empower and bring together women in sales, so they can share their knowledge and experience with each other. Programs focused on bringing women’s voices to the table in the technology sector are key to ensuring equitable representation.”

The new scholarship fund is the first of a series of initiatives undertaken by the three partners to make the tech sector more accessible to women of all backgrounds, according to a news release. 

“Sharing the stories, experiences and knowledge of women leaders in this industry is another aspect of what makes this partnership so important,” said Lena Thibeh, co-founder of BWOSS. “We can provide an avenue for women to share their knowledge. Through education, knowledge sharing and communication we can empower an important voice in this industry.”

In addition to scholarships, the partners will be joined by Google’s Women Techmakers (Waterloo) in hosting panel discussions aimed at bringing women leaders together around subjects affecting women in technology, and to facilitate diversity and inclusion.